Archive for the ‘Chicane News’ Category

Head In the Pebble Beach Sand

I know it doesn’t help anything on a macro-level, but I’m intentionally not posting about the Pebble Beach auctions. Why? There were amazing cars there, right? Cars that are on my personal list of favorites. And hell, if Yahoo Business or the Huffington Post can get traffic today reporting on the auctions, why wouldn’t an actual vintage sports and racing car site do it?

It’s simple. I would rather talk about what these cars do on the track than what they do on the auction block.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for this weekend’s buyers and their new 904 or Spyder California or Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione or (my goodness!) Gurney-Weslake Eagle Mk 1 Formula 1 car. I’m just not that interested in the sales numbers. When these cars show up at the Mille Miglia or the California Mille or Goodwood or any local road course, then you’ll be reading about them here. I just don’t want to play into the hype machine of who’s buying what and how many millions did they pay for it and oh-my-gawd-did-you-see-how-rich-that-guy-is of it all.

Whenever I’ve talked about the economics of vintage sports and racing cars here, it’s set off a bit of a firestorm of negativity. This is not intended to restart that whole argument of “racing cars should be for enthusiasts” versus “rare=expensive, deal with it”. The only side I’ll take on that argument is that I hope these new buyers use their cars; that they get out on the track or out to the concours or out on the street. Anything. So long as it’s not just sitting in a vault waiting for the next auction.

The cars deserve it.

Congratulations to this weekend’s buyers and sellers. Congratulations to this weekend’s blue ribbon winners. Now let’s strap on a helmet and see what she can do.

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New In the Chicane Shop: Legends of the 50’s

Legends of the 50's Shirt

Who am I to choose from among these names? How can I ask any of you to choose from the best of 1950s racing? Why argue the point when we can celebrate not any specific favorite, but the glory of this entire golden era of competition?

Available today in The Chicane Shop.

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Women on the Track

Maria Teresa de Filippis in Monaco

For International Women’s Day we’ve been posting a series of photos of our favorite women in motorsport on The Chicane’s Tumblr. Click on over an join in.

Suzy Dietrich in her Porsche 550Anna Maria Peduzzi with her Stanguellini 1100 Sport. 1956.

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2013 Vintage Racing Calendar Updated

Whew. It’s hard for this upper Midwesterner to believe that I’ve already missed vintage race weekends this year. I blame the ceaseless snow shoveling for my delay in updating The Chicane’s Vintage Racing Calendar for 2013. Finally, it’s up to date. If you don’t see your club or event listed, drop me a line and I’ll add it.

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Vintage Racing Calendar Updated

2012 event calendars are still trickling in from the various sanctioning bodies, but I’ve added the races I know of to our Vintage Racing Calendar.

Don’t see your groups events listed? Send ’em in.

This list isn’t US events only, so international readers, please get your group’s calendars to me as well!

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Yamura Shirts Are Back in Stock

Thanks to a number of your emails requesting a reprint, The Chicane Shop is stocked back up in Yamura Motors shirts in every size. We’ve even added size small for the first time. The shirt fabric is a slightly lighter, brighter blue this time around; a bit more wintery, a bit more of an early 60’s color.

Available in The Chicane Shop. Woohoo!

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One of Many Proud Moments at the Chicane

When I started The Chicane, it was mainly as an outlet for all of the vintage racing research I was doing. A way to do something productive with all the hours I’d spend Googling obscure racing drivers or collecting images of favorite racing machines. What I didn’t count on, though, was how much I would enjoy the commentary and conversations that arise in the comments section of many of the posts. I’m consistently delighted when a post will prompt someone who raced in the discussed event; or owned the discussed car; or had photos from a discussed race meeting; will comment on a post and takes the conversation in a new, thrilling direction.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about a set of photos that reader Brian Goldman sent in of the Put-in-Bay races. The comments, though, are why I love the post. Several of the racers checked in or enquired about particular cars. One of whom, Edward Eichenlaub, was looking for any photos that might include his own winning run at that event. Only a short time later, Manley Ford delivered—emailing me the photo you see above of Ed’s victory.

When I see Chicane readers connecting and fueling each other’s love for vintage racing, I… I don’t know how to describe it… It just makes it all seem so much more worth doing. Thank you all for that.

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Is There a Way to Stop This? Should We Care?

So I’ve been reading this morning about Classic Automobile Investment funds and it bums me right out. The worst part is that I don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it. The story is that there are investment groups creating funds and using these pooled investments to buy classic cars. What’s worse, there is more than one of these groups—virtually ensuring that their competition will artificially inflate prices in the vintage racing and sportscar world and put these cars outside of the reach of drivers who would use these machines for their intended purpose.

Maybe some of you view your classic car as an investment and maybe I’m insulting half of my readers here… and maybe (probably) I’m just naive… But it bothers me that speculators and investors who may or may not have any purer interest in their chosen investment are becoming an ever increasing percentage of the market for historic sports and racing cars.

I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that I’ll likely never own a 250GTO or 917 or Tipo 33—so I like to think this isn’t all just coming from a place of jealousy—but as this trend increases, even once affordable classic sportscars values are skyrocketing at a pace that puts even much more modest road-going sportscars out of the budgets of vintage sportscar fans.

I suppose I should have seen this coming in the wake of the Barrett-Jacksonification of the muscle car market. I would sit stunned and watch what seemed to me like fairly ordinary muscle cars change hands for stratospheric sums. It all makes a bit of sense, I guess. I’m sure there have been many, many vintage sportscar owners that have been more than happy that when it came time to sell their pride and joy that they could turn a tidy profit on it. Perhaps that profit would fund a new automotive dream. These profits were bound to be noticed.

Maybe I’m wrong on all of this and these automotive funds are buying these cars to be used. Sure, they see them ultimately as an investment, but there’s no reason it can’t compete at Goodwood or the LeMans Classic while they’re in our care. Even respected collectors who DO use their cars are on board. I can’t help but think though, that they’ll just be stored in vaults; perhaps visited by an occasional mechanic or significant investor or banker, hidden from the public. Not driven. Not owned by loving caretakers that will use them as intended.

It’s like hanging a Vermeer in an empty, unlit storage locker.

Am I being foolish? Or is this a real threat to our passion and community? What do you think?

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Vintage Racing Calendar Updated for 2011

Better late than never, right? Head on over and find a vintage event near you…

And keep those calendars coming my way if there’s a sanctioning body that I’ve overlooked.

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Hey Minnesotans: A Chicane Happy Hour Before the Screening of Grand Prix this Friday

This Friday, January 28, at 7pm The Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis will be screening Grand Prix as part of their ‘Color Me Gone’ celebration of racing films. Naturally, I’ll be there. If any readers want to meet up beforehand, some of the Chicane crew will be holding down the fort starting at 5:30 at The Chatterbox for happy hour. The Chatterbox has a bunch of vintage video gaming systems and you can check out classic Atari, Sega, and Nintendo NES titles from the bar, so some Pole Position seems in order to get us ready for the movie. I’ll have posters from the film series to give away as well. Drop a line in the comments if you’re planning on coming.

Here’s a map of the pub and theatre.

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